Proposing Motherhood

heydi with flowers

“Well, open it.”

I looked from my boyfriend to my parents. Frankly, I felt framed.

It was Christmas 2007. I wasn’t ready to be married. But there my boyfriend sat expectantly. I had just unwrapped a cherry jewelry box.

No, really, I don’t want to look inside. Please don’t make me look inside.

“Okay,” I resigned. I feigned a smile with the understanding that – if a ring was inside – I would have a choice to make. A public choice. An immediate choice. A forced choice. 

The writing on the wall, however, had been revealed to me approximately nine months prior – during my first international service trip.

Nicaragua. Orphans. And a promise to give up sweets for Lent.  Continue reading “Proposing Motherhood”

I took my 1-year-old on a mission trip. Here’s what happened

img_4147

It’s a scene no mother envisions: your 1-year-old child running barefoot through a church made of two double-wides in the middle of West Virginia. And, yet, this is a quintessential moment from my first mission trip with my daughter.

To be honest, it was a beautiful sight. You see, in coal country, there is an emerging trend to combat vast unemployment, uncomfortable outside aid, and limited access to essential services.

Cease having children.

When I agreed to join this service opportunity, I didn’t realize that my little girl would be the youngest child I would encounter on the trip. I live in the Deep South, and babies are everywhere. But this is not true in the heart of Appalachia, and it would be my daughter who gave this community what I could not: hope.

Continue reading “I took my 1-year-old on a mission trip. Here’s what happened”

Mountains Beyond Mountains

100_0460

I don’t believe loving someone is ever easy, especially when it’s a stranger.

Yesterday, I shared a piece I wrote the day after Election 2016. Emotions were high, much of our nation was baffled, and experience reminded me that loving people is complicated.

But, just three days later, the hand I was dealt was angry, white, and male.

And for the very first time, I absorbed hatred in the presence of my children.

Continue reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains”

Letting in the Sunshine: 13 Questions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My husband and I never do things the traditional way. Take, for example, our 2010 World Cup-inspired mission trip to South Africa. I mean, what better way to celebrate your first year of marriage than with vuvuzelas and chicken feet, right?

When I reflect on this adventure, I think back to the dozens of questions that the village children asked me each morning.

“I hear there is a bin for paper, plastic, and tin. Is this true?”

“How old are you?”

And perhaps my favorite of all: “Are you married to the scientist?”

The wonder in their eyes was almost tangible. And, in full transparency, their attention made me feel like a million dollars. I want to see the world this way.

But, alas, I was forced to return to my old life, my old habits, my old attitudes. And only in my matured adult years have I come to see that that perfect African sunset was never meant to be left behind – it was designed to become a part of me.

Continue reading “Letting in the Sunshine: 13 Questions”